Ancient Greek Terracotta Oil Lamp


An ancient Greek, wheelmade, buff pink terracotta oil lamp covered in a dark brown glaze. The lamp features a biconical, circular body with concave shoulders and raised rim, offset by a deep groove. The nozzle is particularly long and distinctly flattened on top, with a slightly rounded tip. There is a diagonally offset pierced lug to the left side of the body. The base is deeply raised and a small circle impressed in centre. The base and insides are also glazed.

Date: Circa 3rd century BC
Provenance: From a private Preston, Lancashire collection, RB, who amassed a collection of over 200 lamps, the majority acquired via a London A.D.A member gallery.
Condition: Very fine. Some loss of glaze. Chips to the base and underneath. Stand not included with item.


SKU: AH-951 Category:

This particular oil lamp can be characterised generally as Howland type 32, after the lychnologist who categorised them (Ref: The Athenian Agora: Results Of Excavations Conducted By The American School Of Classical Studies At Athens, Volume Iv, Greek Lamps And Their Survivals – By Richard Hubbard Howland). The type is identified by its bi-conical body, long and flattened nozzle and small lug to the side. Lamps such as this were typical of the first half of the 3rd century BC and were wheel-made, rather than mould-made which was introduced in the early 3rd century, during the Hellenistic period. The pierced lug to the side, in lieu of a handle, was used to suspend the lamp when not in use.  Other examples of Howland 32 lamps may have an un-pierced lug, in which case, a handle is typically included.

Weight 78.0 g
Dimensions L 10 x W 7 x H 3.7 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For similar: The J. Paul Getty Museum, item 83.AQ.377.371